What is it about?

The article looks at Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - three Baltic countries, which during the 1990s transitioned from their communist past to a market-oriented economic system (neoliberalism). It talks about how certain groups of economists and advocates for a particular economic model in the Baltic countries communicated with right-wing libertarian groups in Scandinavia and the United States before 1991. These connections helped shape new ideas and policies, even though the actual changes were planned within the Baltic countries. The article asks why these connections were formed and compares how they worked in different national settings. It also recounts the story of how market reformers gained important decision-making roles.

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Why is it important?

This article brings a new and informative perspective to the existing research on how neoliberalism emerged in Central and Eastern Europe. It looks back in time and outlines the different factors that led to the development of neoliberal policies in the Baltic countries, both before and after 1991 - the year that is frequently deemed to be the starting point of post-communist transformation. By looking at the late 1980s, the article aims to document how neoliberal ideas and policies were introduced and established in the Baltic countries, considering things like international connections, how people communicated, important individuals, and unexpected events. This approach is different from previous accounts that only focus on the idea that Western countries quickly imposed neoliberal practices on Central and Eastern Europe without considering their unique situations and active involvement of local policy-making elites. Moreover, it is the first study looking at the rise of neoliberalism in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Roadmaps to post-communist neoliberalism: the case of the Baltic states, Journal of Baltic Studies, March 2023, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/01629778.2023.2185647.
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